Influenced by classic rock, blues, and American trad rock, Filligar took root in Chicago in 2000. Brothers Pete (drums), Johnny (guitars, vocals), and Teddy Mathias (bass) comprised the band's familial core, while longtime friend Casey Gibson completed the lineup with his background vocals and keyboard skills. Still in their early teens, the bandmates issued three albums under the name Flipside before adopting their new moniker for 2004's Hoofbeats & Heat. The following year saw the release of Filligar, a self-titled album that gained the band its first significant amount of local airplay. Released in 2006, Succession, I Guess saw even more success, and Filligar continued to tour and record even as the bandmembers attended college.
The City Tree arrived in 2007, garnering radio play from markets throughout the U.S. as well as a warm endorsement from Chicago-based music critic Jim DeRogatis. Meanwhile, a song from the band's previous record, Succession, I Guess, was used during an episode of The Real World, and Filligar eventually landed TV spots on additional networks. The band cracked the College Music Journal charts with the release of 2008's Near or Far and opened for the Black Keys the following year. The Nerve followed in 2010, spawning a headlining tour that included sold-out performances at venues in New York and L.A. ~ Andrew Leahey